Landscape and Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is most effective when used sparingly and in specific spots. Your garden is the transition space between the outside world and your own home. The right lighting can make your garden into another room of your house as well as providing an attractive outlook from inside. And your garden can look surprisingly different at night-time. Just a few lights in appropriate places will create interesting pools of light and shadow. Directional lighting will highlight features that may go unnoticed during the day, like the bark of a silver birch or a eucalypt, or a tinkling fountain. Even sheets of falling rain and swirling shrouds of mist can become dramatic features of your landscape with the right lighting.

Do check that your directional lighting shines onto the feature you intend it to and not into your neighbour’s bedroom window. And consider that a tree you want to highlight may be home to birds and other wild-life. You can minimize disruption to their habitat by using an automatic time-clock on your lighting.

For driveways, paths and steps, use lights that are directed to your feet to create pools of light to guide you. A light that is too high will shine into your face and leave the path and steps in shadow. A lamp next to your front door may look attractive, but a pool of light directed onto the door knocker, the keyhole and the step will provide a safer and warmer welcome for you and your visitors.

Choose colour temperatures to suit what you are trying to light and the mood you are trying to create. The colour temperature of a light is measured in Kelvins (K). The higher the colour temperature, the cooler the light will look. For example, metal halide lamps have a high, cool colour temperature that makes the greens and blues of the foliage in your garden look fresh and bright. Lamps with low, warm colour temperatures bring out the warmth of reds and oranges, like candlelight. An example of cool and warm colour temperature lighting complementing each other in your garden design would be to create a cool, fresh garden with warm pools of light around the paved areas where people gather and sit or linger over a candle-lit dinner.

The Colour Rendering Index(CRI) indicates how a light reacts under different parts of the colour spectrum. This applies particularly to metal halide and fluorescent lights, affecting the appearance of flowers and shrubs and also skin tones. And low-pressure sodium lights give out a huge amount of light but suppress both greens and reds, so that everything looks yellow and grey. Which brings us back to that traffic intersection.

Landscaping In Arid Conditions

Coming Up With A Scheme

Firstly you should look around for photographs to inspire you. Settling on the overall design scheme is possibly the most demanding part of the process. For success you not only need to have an idea about what you want but also how it can be adapted to work with your resources and actual space you are working with.

Designing The Desert

Even a décor of rocks and stones can be jazzed up by bringing in boulders of different shapes, color and sizes. Don’t forget to mix them up with native desert planting for a softer look.

Desert Garden

The key to a successful desert garden is to select planting that is adapted to the local growing conditions, even flowers. Use a variety of plants to add texture to create your scheme, keeping the taller ones towards the back.

A Room With A View

When designing your outdoor space, keep in mind how the backyard will look from inside your home. The view can inspire you and your guests to step out and enjoy its beautiful setting.

Water Features In The Desert

Whether you are thinking small pond or large swimming pool, a water feature will bring relief from the hot and dry weather: this can not only bring your design scheme together and add a sense of fun to the result, but will also act as a people magnet when you entertain.

Put A Pond in Back Yard

Landscaping your pond starts at the pond itself. Create a border by adding stones, plants and statuary that will create a great view. You should also create a walkway from your pond to your house. Access is important and easily accomplished by using stepping stones, etc.Trees are both beneficial and harmful to your pond. Trees provide shade that will be good for your pond but they will also add to debris such as branches and leaves or fallen fruit The key is to strike a balance between the two. Shrubs will also play a role in maintaining unity between the tall trees and the low pond. They will create continuity from your pond to the trees. You may also add some flowers to provide some color. Be sure to cut the off the old blossoms to prevent debris that can make your area unsightly.Water plants are a must for ponds and should be added immediately after your pond has been finished. Use similar colored plants as their surroundings to create some balance and harmony between the two. Be creative and do some research on different kinds of water plants to use.A finishing touch for a pond is adding some fish. Add them after everything else has been finished. Always select appropriate species of fish that will not out-grow the size of your pond.Creating a pond for your yard will both be tiring, but the fun of creating it will be rewarding. Be sure that do regular maintenance to so it will always be free from debris. After all of your work is finished, enjoy your pond and marvel the harmony you have created in your yard.

Teak Chair

Teak, a hard strong durable yellowish-brown wood, grows in the region of Southeast Asia, mainly in Java, Indonesia, and is harvested from the surrounding forests and teak plantations by the locals and the Indonesian government. The wood of the teak tree is naturally resistant to insects, warping, splintering and the elements, which makes it an ideal wood for creating chairs and other outdoor furnishings.

Many people choose teak over other natural materials because it requires no sealing, varnishing or finishing, and it only gets better as it weathers. A teak chair is able to withstand the elements for decades; retain its beauty, durability and smooth texture; and, over the course of time, weather to a gorgeous silvery color.

Not only are teak chairs durable, they come in a vast array of styles and designs to complement your individual personality and space. You can make your selection from numerous different pieces of teak furniture including teak Adirondack chairs, teak dining chairs, teak rocking chairs, teak swings, and teak folding chairs, just to name a few.

There are also a large number of teak chair styles to choose from. No matter whether you prefer the intricately carved designs often associated with country French designs or the sleek lines of the teak Adirondack chair, you will not be disappointed when you shop for teak chairs. Some of the styles available include Nantucket, Derby, Normandy, Mandalay and many, many more.

If you find that you are in the mood for a little color, you can add your own stylish flair with a couple of throw pillows or teak chair cushions. There are over 40 colors available, and you can choose from both solid colored fabrics and patterns.

And teak chairs are affordable. While you may find that you spend a fraction more on teak chairs than chairs made with other materials, you will be more than compensated by this furniture’s beauty, comfort and durability. To help put it into perspective, think of how often you have to purchase outdoor furniture because it has succumbed to the elements and is not attractive anymore. Wouldn’t it be worth it to spend a little more, but enjoy that furniture for decades? Not only that, but there is very little maintenance required for teak furniture. How much more will you spend staining and finishing weathered outdoor furniture made out of other kinds of materials? After you take all of this into consideration, you would agree that teak furniture is the better buy.

Landscape Rock

Landscape rock doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to maneuver with any backyard project ever again. Now there is a great new method of creating the size, the shape, and the color of your landscape rocks and stones to fit perfectly into your landscaping design. Everyone loves the peaceful serenity of a waterfall, now you can create your own quiet and tranquil setting at home.

CaveRock Design has copyrighted the first residential backyard do-it-yourself artificial rocks, boulders, and waterfall formula that literally anyone can afford and apply. The method is simple, yet very versatile and durable. They have already established customers around the globe using this ideal process of making the landscape rocks and boulders for many personal projects.

Artificial rock is now curbing the rock and stone business to accommodate the weekend warriors, who just want to spice up their landscape and not spend a fortune on the materials.

Landscape rock has always involved heavy lifting and difficult placement. Most of the time a landscaper has to work around the rock work that’s in place or settle for what they can manage to do with large landscape rock. This is remarkably easy to do and the build time is virtually a couple of days for a large project. The time savings alone is priceless.

A new application has been made to create a cave-like project for the kids or grandkids and show off your new found skills. This will surely impress the family, once you tell them you are a cave builder.

Doubling as a kid’s cave, CaveRock Design’s process also allows the victory gardener to create a place to store the daily gardening tools or a place to put your tools away from the elements and keep them handy as well.

Prior to CaveRock Design’s formula, the only place you would find this type of artificial rock formations would be at miniature golf course or a theme-park. Now when you see those picture perfect artificial rocks, and waterfalls, you can say, I can create my own artificial rocks, boulders, or stones, to make the perfect landscape design and create my very own backyard waterfall.

Spring, Time to Plan Landscaping

Say Hello with Flowers this Spring

Simply put, flowers are an invitation to enter. Flowers always make a home seem more welcoming. Prettify your entrance with an assortment of annuals and perennials to keep the colors going all year long. Pansy, Day Lily and Russian Sage are great additions to set the stage.

If you have a small space between your house and the street, try putting a low fence in front. It gives the illusion that your house is farther from the street than it really is, and it also makes for a great space for planting flowers and vines.

Landscaping with Vines-Let the Romance Begin

There’s nothing more quixotic than lush green tendrils meandering around fences and retaining walls. Your landscaper can guide you to the all-important non-invasive varieties-Trumpet Honeysuckle, Clematis, and Morning Glory. All vines can be trained to grow on a fence or in a container, if that’s the preference.

Don’t Forget to Include the Driveway in Your Landscaping Project

By carefully sculpting the landscape and choosing the right plants and materials, you can hide an unattractive driveway. Or, you can consider if the time is right to replace that broken cement with beautiful new pavers. Many landscape portfolios show how the combination of landscape and hardscape can transform your property into the Garden of Eden. A low hedge with create an elegant look that can be combined with annuals and perennials. Depending on the look and feel of your home, this landscaping can be trim and stylish or a bit wild.

Blooms, Blooms…It’s Spring We Presume

Ask anyone who knows-the easiest way to make over the look of your home landscape is blooms. Blossoming trees, shrubs, and flowers provide maximum impact. And you can change color quick as a wink! Ask your landscaper for recommendations; Chinese Snowballs, Flowering Plum, Crepe Myrtle, Magnolia are just a few northeast favorites.

Factor in the Unexpected for a Spectacular Landscape

Even the smallest space can house a surprise. A fountain, statue, bench or a special flower display atop a breathtaking stone wall can provide your guests with a “wow” factor that makes your home both a neighborhood showplace and a portfolio entry . In a trim and elegant yardscape, an area of wildflowers can take a visitor’s breath away!

Choosing the right landscaping organization is a must for creating a garden wonderland that offers an oasis from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Do your research-get referrals and references- to locate a knowledgeable, experienced and cooperative professional partner. Homeowners are a fortunate group; the portfolio for spring landscaping ideas is varied and vast.

Koi Pond and Waterfall Builders

What is your budget? How much can you spend on the entire project? You could spend $3,000 on a water feature and find out you still need an additional $1,000-1,500 for plants and amenities, such as a deck, gazebo, walkways, fish or landscape lighting in the pond, waterfall and lawn. Other possible extras are a biological filter, auto-fill for pond, skimmer, back-flushable bio-filter, and more.

How big is a water feature? If you are building your own, then structurally size is not that big an issue! I would charge the same price for a 3-foot high waterfall as I would for a 5-foot; the same for a 3 by 5-foot pond as a 4 by 6. There is only a $200 difference in cost between the 1,000 and 2,000 square feet of concrete shell surface. Your main concern about size should be space, not cost. How much of your yard can you sacrifice? Even if the space between your house and the property line fence is limited, a water feature can be incorporated.

Small ponds 1½ to 3 feet deep can facilitate a sump pump located within the pond. Even though a sump pump is inexpensive, it consumes much more energy than an above-ground pump. A pond any deeper than 3 feet requires an exterior pump for better accessibility and maintenance, and at a higher cost. But they pay for themselves in a short period of time with the energy savings. Also, larger ponds require greater filtration, more cleaning and maintenance.

The size of the waterfalls will determine the size of the pump needed. The higher the waterfalls, the bigger the pump needed to supply the water and the greater the cost for electricity. Height creates head pressure which requires more energy and is the major factor in operating cost.

How much entertaining will you do? Will you need a deck? If so, how big? You might consider placing a pond next to an existing deck. Many people do just the opposite, they build a pond and then construct a deck beside it. In this case, you can take advantage of an existing deck and construct an open stairway (stair bridge) to span the pond. This affords unique access to the opposite side.

Will you have adequate room for table and chairs? Do you want a spa? Or a fire pit or barbecue? Enough lawn for games? Where do you spend most of your outdoor leisure time? That is the area for your waterfall! The waterfall will bring you the most enjoyment, therefore it should be located closest to the area where you plan to spend most of your time out of doors.

Do you want to see or hear the waterfall from indoors? Consider adding an exterior patio or French doors to your house to access your water feature area. Do you wish to have fish and other aquatic creatures? Long term, a properly maintained nitrogen cycle costs less than maintaining a pond that uses chlorine and other chemicals. Fish, plants and proper bacteria are needed for healthy pond and nitrogen cycle. Once properly established, a healthy fish pond is virtually maintenance free.

Are you willing to remove or replace certain trees or bushes to enhance the waterfall and pond? Some trees have very aggressive root systems that can literally move concrete as they grow, causing cracking and upheaval. Certain trees can contribute a great deal of debris to the water feature that fouls the water and may cause premature failure of the filter system.

What type of rock do you want? A commonly used rock is cobble stone. However, because of the round shapes, water rolls over the surfaces and creates a minimum of sound or visual effect. In contrast, irregular, angular, sharp-edged granite or similar rock creates turbulent conditions similar to white water as it flows over the edges. The greater the “white water” the more sound is produced. Also, a side benefit is the aeration of water which benefits fish and discourages the production of algae. However, do not attempt to match the color of rock with the decor of the house, brick and other features of your home. Stay natural – contrast is good!

What about electrical supply for the pump and equipment? In 20 years I have never seen the electrical costs for supplying power to the equipment site exceed $1,200, and the average is less than $400.

What about a water supply for an automatic water leveling system? Water is very accessible in any household and getting it to the water feature site is a minor expense. Simply tap into an outside water faucet.

There are hundreds of questions that arise in the course of a water feature project. It is best that most of these questions are answered prior to commencement of construction, it could save you hundreds of dollars by avoiding mistakes.

Landscaping With Lawn Tractor

Lawn Tractors = Small Tractors

If you need a tractor for different kinds of farmwork for less than 2 acres, then a farm tractor is the best choice for you. You can greatly reduce your manual labor, due to the many attachments that are available for lawn tractors. You will find that this can help you keep your garden in tip-top condition in much less time. In most cases, a lawn tractor up to a maximum of 7-10 HP will also have a ZTR (zero turning radius) feature to help you when working in a smaller field.

The Versatility of Lawn Tractors

Versatility is a major benefit of lawn tractors. Some of the jobs that can be completed by lawn tractors include hole digging, lawn rolling, tilling, mowing, and many other jobs. The power take off spindle makes these jobs easily possible. That is why lawn tractors are a gardener’s best friend.

Purchasing A Lawn Tractor

Choosing and purchasing a lawn tractor is much like buying an automobile. The optional accessories increase the prices of both a car and a lawn tractor. That is why you want to choose your lawn tractor and accessories wisely to ensure that you will use the ones that you are purchasing. You also want to ensure that you can try the lawn tractor in the showroom to ensure that you can attach and remove the accessories with very little effort. Test-drive the lawn tractor to make sure you can get in and out of it easily as well.

Price of Lawn Tractors

There is a large price range in lawn tractors. A smaller lawn tractor can start at $900 and go up to $6000. The Bolen 762F76 is a basic model and it is available for just under $900, while the John Deer Spin-Steer SST-16 is approximately $3300. A Poulan Pro PK1845H42ST is about $1400. These costs are for the tractor without any accessories. Accessories can make the cost greatly increase. A canopy starts at $110 and a collection bag for grass is around $300. A cart can run you anywhere from $110 to $220, depending upon the size. Now you see how the costs can quickly add up. If you are planning to use the lawn tractor for mowing 1/2 to 1 acre, then you may want to choose a stand behind lawnmower for around $350, instead of a lawn tractor.

Safely Using A Lawn Tractor

Lawn tractors are designed with a low center of gravity and that is why there is very little possibility of the lawn tractors tipping over. It is important to use the following safety precautions, regardless of the little possibility of them turning over.

  • It is important that you watch your speed, especially when you are on an incline. A small rock can cause your lawn tractor to have problems and possibly injure you.
  • While getting off of the lawn tractor, ensure that it is turned off and all attachments touch the ground, if at all possible.

Outdoor Wood Benches

Outdoor wood benches vary in size, they could be small two seat benches, and go much larger. Then there are also benches that wrap around the tree, so that you don’t have to keep moving your chairs about and packing them away when you are done using them. The wood that is used varies from oak, shorea wood, white cedar, pine, or maple depending on the texture you are seeking. There is also the rustic look for outdoor wood benches. This look consists of the railings being made from white cedar or other choice woods. This look is very attractive in any garden setting. Shapes and sizes are very important, you do not want to over power the garden with too much wood, so try to go with outdoor wood benches that fit your style and motif of your garden.

Some outdoor wood benches have attached planters on each side of the bench. This type of bench goes great in any garden because it becomes the garden. In each of the planters you can plant various types of flowers that equally match the others in your garden giving even more beauty to it for many years to come. When choosing outdoor wood benches you should have an idea of how many you want to put in your garden or on your patio. Too many benches will take away the beauty of the flowers and other items that make your garden beautiful. If your garden can accommodate it, then maybe placing a few outdoor wood benches here and there will add beauty to your garden. You are really the only one who can make the decision on how many you need and what will give your garden that special look.

Once you have decided on that, the next step is to choose the style of your outdoor wood benches. Gliders are a great choice for outdoor wood benches. You can sit for hours gliding back and fourth basking in the beauty of your garden. Your guests will also love to sit and enjoy the garden as well in a glider or basically any type of outdoor garden bench you choose. All these benches are very unique. They are resistant to water, weather and warping, which allows the outdoor wood benches to withstand any weather season after season. Any one of these benches would make a perfect gift for any garden.

Prevent Riding Lawn Accidents

You need to make sure you are very careful if you use a riding lawn mower to cut your grass. Keep your children completely out of the area. They should not be allowed to play in the yard while you are cutting it. They might follow the blades too closely trying to get to a toy. The noise from a riding lawn mower is loud so you may not even hear the child playing until it is too late. Make sure your children are aware of the dangers involved and that they understand why they should never get close to a riding lawn mower.

Try to avoid using that backup lever as much as possible. You should focus on moving it forward and paying attention to what is out in front of you. Look for toys, rocks, sticks, and anything else that may be hidden in your grass. Rocks are very dangerous as they can come into contact with the blades and be thrown into the air.

Some of the manufacturers of riding lawn mowers have found themselves at the center of legal issues because of the injuries or death that has resulted from a riding lawn mower accident. Many parents claim that had they known about such risks to their children they never would have purchased one. However, they are still being made with the dangerous reverse abilities so parents have to do their part to keep their family safe.